NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade Devonte’ Graham and four second-round draft choices to San Antonio in exchange for Josh Richardson, a person familiar with the move said Thursday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade, which came just before the league’s deadline, had not been announced.
The exchange of veteran guards provides future financial flexibility for New Orleans. Richardson has an expiring contract while Graham, who has averaged just 15 minutes of playing time off the bench this season, has two more seasons remaining on his contract at about $12 million per year.
The Pelicans initially acquired Graham in a sign-and-trade with Charlotte during the 2021 offseason, hoping he could provide steady perimeter shooting. Graham averaged about 28 minutes on the court in his first season in New Orleans, but the fifth-year pro out of Kansas has seen his playing time fall off this season.
The Pelicans have a number of players competing for time at shooting guard. Swing players such as Brandon Ingram and Trey Murphy III are in that spot when All-Star power forward Zion Williamson is healthy and working in the front court along with center Jonas Valanciunas and defensive-minded forward Herb Jones.
New Orleans also took guard Dyson Daniels in the first round of last summer’s NBA draft, and he was playing regularly and even starting at times before his recent ankle injury.
Pelicans starting point guard CJ McCollum also can rotate over to shooting guard, arguably his more natural position.
Graham’s outside shooting could potentially help the Spurs. Although he is averaging just 5.3 points per game this season, he’s been hitting 34.7% from 3-point range.
Richardson, in his eighth NBA season out of Tennessee, has largely come off the bench for San Antonio this season and has averaged 11.5 points in about 23.7 minutes per game.